The "Pitties in Pink" Float helped represent shelter pets and Multnomah County at the 2017 Pride Parade on June 18. Read about the history of the "Pitties in Pink" and view photos taken by the county photographer and volunteers at the parade.
About “Pitties in Pink”
"Pitties in Pink" is the response of Multnomah County Animal Services to the many pit bulls up for adoption at the shelter. These are intelligent, energetic, loving family dogs. Unfortunately, they can be difficult to place in forever homes, and many have extended stays in the shelter kennels as a result. But who can resist a pittie in pink?
Thank you to our community of volunteers and supporters for giving their time and energy to promote shelter pets in such a vibrant, visible, and celebrated way! The success of “Pitties in Pink” leads to adoptions, awareness, and lives saved at Multnomah County Animal Services.
- Saturday, July 22, 2017
- Wacky Parade at 10:45 am
- The parade, starting at 10:45 am, will start at SE 50th and Division, head towards SE 20th and Division where it cuts over to SE Clinton Street and ends at SE 27th and Clinton.
- Street Fair featuring arts and crafts
- Saturday, September 30, 2017
- Parade from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
- Downtown Gresham
- Bring teddy bears to celebrate the children of the community.
In 2017, the “Pitties in Pink” float won the Starlight Parade’s First-Place award for the non-commercial division. Float designer, Volunteer Lorna Lacey, created an even bigger and brighter float to showcase the dogs in 2017. The backyard-themed float with a large pink doghouse also includes illuminated flowers and a giant 8 ft butterfly.
In 2016, the “Pitties in Pink” float won the Starlight Parade’s Sweepstakes Award for Best Illumination.
Pitties in Pink History
The “Pitties in Pink” float is orchestrated by Multnomah County Animal Services Volunteer Manager, Melinda Hickey, who has overseen the float’s presence in multiple parades every year since 2011. Prior to her current position, Melinda was a volunteer at Multnomah County Animal Services, where she and other volunteers experienced the friendly nature of pit bulls in the shelter who couldn’t seem to find a forever home.
“Pitties in Pink” was conceived as a way to destigmatize pit bulls, dispel fears and stereotypes surrounding bully-breeds, and to showcase them as the friendly family dogs they can be. Today, the float is a symbol to promote adoption of the many wonderful animals waiting for homes in local shelters.
It all started with a volunteer, Terry, and her fostered pit bull, Princess. When Terry first started volunteering, she admitted that she was fearful about handling pit bulls at the shelter. Over time, she became more comfortable as she worked closely with the dogs and got acquainted with their personalities. Terry became a foster volunteer. Ironically, the first dog she wanted to foster was Princess, a pit bull!
Terry later attended an adoption outreach event at Clackamas Town Center with Princess. Terry and Princess were decked out in pink, complete with pink flowers and painted pink nails. To the surprise of all, Princess the pit bull was the first dog adopted at the event, with multiple interested adopters. It was as if the pink flowers and painted nails had changed the way Princess was perceived. She wasn’t seen as a scary pit bull, but as a lovely, friendly, adoptable dog wearing pink!
Later in the year, staff and volunteers including Melinda wanted to recreate the magic that started with Terry and Princess. Multnomah County Animal Services had the opportunity to march in a local Troutdale parade. Staff and volunteers brought adoptable pit bulls out of their kennels at the shelter, put pink tutus on them, and marched the happy pink dogs down the street. The dogs were calm and smiling, and there wasn’t a single incidence of fighting, barking, or aggression. The crowd was pleasantly stunned at the sight of these “Pitties in Pink.